10 Awesome Man Vs. Nature Movies

There have been a lot of movies pitting man against nature over the years, many of them based on true stories. Some of them are inspirational, some educational, and some are just hard to watch. One thing is certain – all of the movies on this list will get you thinking about what you would do in the characters’ situations.

1. Jaws (1975)

Man vs. Nature Movies - JAWSStephen Spielberg’s Jaws is one of the most famous and one of the most beloved man vs. nature movies ever made. It stars Roy Scheider as the local sheriff who is afraid of the water, Richard Dreyfuss as a bespectacled shark expert, and Robert Shaw as the crusty fisherman who goes out with the other two men to hunt down the great white shark who has been terrorizing the small seaside town of Amity. The movie is based on the bestselling book of the same name by Peter Benchley.


2. The Birds (1963)

Man vs. Nature Movies - The BirdsNobody did creepy better than Hitchcock, and The Birds is one of the creepiest because it pits man against nature as the birds in Bodego Bay go crazy. It stars Tippi Hedren as a spoiled socialite (think a 1060s version of Paris Hilton), Rod Taylor as her love interest, Suzanne Pleshette as his jealous ex-lover, and Jessica Tandy as his jealous mother.

What makes this film extra eerie is the fact that there is no music throughout the entire film, which lends it its haunting vibe.


3. 127 Hours (2010)

Man vs. Nature Movies - 127 Hours127 Hours is based on the true story of Aron Ralston. a lone hiker who got trapped in a crevasse in Canyonlands National Park in Utah. James Franco plays Ralston and the film is directed by Danny Boyle, director of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire. The story flips between flashbacks and present day as Boyle tries to get himself out of the crevasse.


4. Cast Away (2000)

Man vs. Nature Movies - Cast AwayThe Robert Zemeckis film, Cast Away, stars Tom Hanks and a volleyball named Wilson. Hanks’ character is stranded on an island after a plane crash for four years with only the companionship of the volleyball.

The movie explores the theme of solitude and, much like 127 Hours, is gripping despite there only being one character for most of the movie.


5. Alive (1993)

AliveBased on a true story, Alive tells the story of a Uruguayan rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes in 1972.

It is directed by Frank Marshall and stars Ethan Hawke and Josh Hamilton. The story is a fast-paced edge-of-your-seat drama that unfolds as the survivors must make the incredibly difficult choice of eating the dead in order to stay alive.


6. The Edge (1997)

The EdgeDavid Mamet wrote The Edge starring Anthonoy Hopkins, Alec Baldwin, and Harold Perrineau as three men stranded in a harsh wilderness after their private plane crashes.

Baldwin plays a pretentious, self-important fashion photographer whom Hopkins, an intellectual billionaire, suspects is sleeping with his wife, played by Elle McPherson. Pinnereau plays Hopkins’ assistant. The trio are stalked by a bear and the assistant ends up being killed, leaving Hopkins and Baldwin’s characters to face each other and the bear in a fight for survival against the bear and each other.


7. The Perfect Storm (2000)

The Perfect StormThe Perfect Storm stars George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg as Massachusetts fishermen who are part of the crew of the Andrea Gail, a swordfishing boat. The boat heads out to sea on Halloween for its last fishing trip of the season, not realizing that a horrific storm unlike any other ever seen is brewing.

Once they realize the danger, it is too late and the crew must fight to survive the storm. The movie is based on a true story chronicled by Sebastian Junger in the book of the same name.


8. Into the Wild (2007)

Written and directed by Sean Penn, Into the Wild stars Emile Hirsch as Christopher McCandless, a well-to-do college grad from Atlanta who decides to give up all his material belongings and sever all family ties to live off the grid. He wanders as a vagabond for two years until he finds himself living in the Alaskan bush and way over his head. Based on the bestselling true story by Jon Krakauer, it also stars William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden as his parents.


9. The Grey (2012)

The GreyThe newest movie on the list, The Grey stars Liam Neeson and Dermot Mulroney as two of a group of rough-around-the-edges oil drillers who are in a plane crash in the remote Alaskan wilderness. On their quest to find safety, they must deal with wolves. More than anything, the film is an existential look at how many copes in the face of death and how a person’s true character shows in times of danger.


10. Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

Jeremiah JohnsonRobert Redford stars in Jeremiah Johnson, a film directed by Sydney Pollack and set in the 1880s that follows a man’s quest to survive alone in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains. Redford’s character, Jeremiah Johnson, must contend with grizzly bears, Crow Indians, and harsh weather. He ultimately ends up marrying the daughter of an Indian chief and becomes completely immersed in the Rocky Mountain life.

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